The Lions play the Green Bay Packers in the biggest NFC North game of the season. Both teams are 9-6, with a chance to clinch the division with a victory. Josh McPeak of Lombardi Ave was kind enough to answer a few questions for SideLion Report about tonight’s Lions-Packers game.
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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) talks with Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) following the game at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Matt: Things looked pretty bleak at 4-6. What exactly happened that got Green Bay going on such a roll?
Josh: I think it was a combination of things early in the season. Not to be overlooked was the horrible coaching and play-calling. Green Bay almost never scored on their first few possessions. Injuries, as always, played a heavy role in the sloppy start. Sam Shields was a huge loss and continues to be a huge loss. Jordy Nelson was also just getting his legs back under him. Compile all of that with the preseason crowned 16-0 Packers and it’s the perfect storm.
Davante Adams recovering from a horrid year really gave the team a jump start. Jordy Nelson being 100% and the unexpected transformation of Ty Montgomery to running back has the offense rolling. The defense is still very suspect. Right now the defensive unit is living and dying by the turnover.
Matt: Where is an area you see the Packers possibly struggling against the Lions?
Josh:The secondary without question. One thing that will be critical is the health of Clay Matthews. Matthews looked good last week and I have been his worst critic. If the Packers can’t establish a heavy pass rush, look for Stafford to put up mind-boggling numbers. Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter have often looked outmatched at times this season.
Matt: Obviously, last year the Packers had an unbelievable Hail Mary to pull off a miraculous upset here at Ford Field. How do you feel this Green Bay team compares to last year’s squad and do you feel the Packers are a legitimate contender to win the Super Bowl?
Josh:Tough question. The offense is better simply because Jordy Nelson is back. Throw in Jared Cook and Davante Adams finally playing to his level and it becomes special. As for the defense, I think it might be worse. Aaron Rodgers and the offense are playing at a level right now which was never established last season. Just like 2010, the Packers have got hot at just the right time. An explosive offense with a suspect defense. This defensive squad can’t compare to the 2010 squad. However, they have been a turnover machine of late. If that continues the Packers are definitely a contender.
Matt: In response to your Stafford-Rodgers question, if you could swap them out and put Stafford on the Packers and Rodgers on the Lions, who do you think would be the better team? Plus, who would you take going forward considering the age difference?
Josh: This one is easy for me. I’ve watched every game of Aaron Rodgers professional career. I’m also the biggest Brett Favre fan you will meet. With Favre, I held my breath every time he threw the ball. With Rodgers on the other hand, I fully expect every pass to be complete. It is such an amazing thing to enjoy as a fan. This guy does things nobody else can. Just go back to last year to the ‘Miracle in Motown’. I’ve never seen a ball travel that high for that length.
Rodgers would have the Lions in the playoffs every year. I could only imagine what he would have accomplished with Calvin Johnson. Also, if Rodgers got to play this Packers’ secondary twice a year, my goodness! I would also have to go with Rodgers over Stafford for the foreseeable future. Not taking a thing away from Stafford. Rodgers, in my opinion, is the best quarterback in the game.
Matt: What do you expect to see in this game and what is your overall prediction? Score?
Josh: I expect Aaron Rodgers and the offense to come out rolling and continue their pace of late. It will be interesting to see Rodgers out of the elements and enjoy a warm condition for his calf and hamstring injuries. Golden Tate and Matthew Stafford will most likely enjoy a very healthy night. If Stafford can avoid Matthews and the club wearing Nick Perry, he will break 400 yards.
The NFC North Championship game! One game winner take all! Aaron Rodgers is the guy I want leading the ship in that scenario.